HOW IS POPULATION HEALTH TECHNOLOGY EVOLVING?
Q &A with Kristen Croke, ICS Director of Product Management
Managing population health remains one of the biggest challenges in healthcare. The stakes are high when trying to improve patient outcomes and lower cost-of-care for specific cohorts, especially when the reality seems daunting.
December 23, 2021
For example, 80% of older adults in the United States are living with a chronic health condition, and more than 60% have two chronic conditions. Care coordination is a strategy to improve population health and involves coordinating between community partners to deliver micromanaged care for high-risk patients. A key mechanism to optimize effectiveness of patient interactions is through y better use of data and technology.
From data analytics to machine learning, technology utilization is essential for care providers to ensure patients don’t fall into the high-risk category. According to 451 Research, “28% of healthcare institutions have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) technology in some capacity, and 15% plan to implement AI within the next 12 months. Overall, 75% of healthcare institutions say they expect to have an AI initiative in place within the next three years.”
“I think the whole data world is going to exponentially increase and really drive more focused care coordination.”
—Kristen Croke, ICS’ Director of Project Management
If health systems aren’t leveraging population health technology, they’re missing opportunities to make stronger impacts . With technology innovation moving rapidly, it’s vital that organizations driving value-based care are aware of trends and start moving toward “pulling that tech lever,” says Kristen Croke. With a deep background in leveraging data to reduce operational costs, Croke offers insights into how technology is evolving care coordination.
Why is technology so important for successful care coordination?
KC: “It starts with using technology to gather insights from a data stack. Beyond providing care management for patients, data-driven care coordination delivers insights into what’s happening among a population’s health, uncovers where there are opportunities for improvement, and targets initiatives to impact patient care. That’s the value of having access to organized, insightful data—it allows care coordinators the agility to adjust to patients’ needs in real-time.”
How do you see advancements in technology improving patient care?
KC: “Next-level care coordination will be about advancing our use of data and technology throughout the patient’s care journey to drive more customized patient engagement. By doing this, care coordinators will have the right information at the right time to more precisely hone in on patient needs, in addition to their existing and developing risk factors.”
How will technology be used to scale care services and prevent burnout among doctors and staff?
KC: ”It will enable stretched clinical teams to focus on those patients at not just higher, but more specific risk categories. We will lean into predictive analytics and move away from one-size-fits-most to many-sizes-fit-many. For example, just because 50 patients share a set of similar health characteristics, this doesn’t necessarily mean each should share the same care plan. With technology, care coordination can improve cohort identification and customized care planning, which will lead to both higher quality outcomes for patients and more efficient service delivery outcomes.”
How can automation improve transition processes?
KC: “Automation can streamline the pre-service authorization process that many companies have built into their process. Before a patient can go to a skilled nursing facility, they need approval from their health plan. Healthcare automation can review and approve documentation, which offsets a significant human bottleneck. It’s good for the patient because their post acute care is not delayed. It’s good for the provider because they are able to move patients from expensive in-patient settings more quickly. And it’s good for health plans as automating the clear cut approval decisions enables focus on the more complex cases-a much more efficient use of an expensive resource. ”
How can automation improve the patient experience?
KC: “Automated outreach through calls, emails or texts, for example, can be used to—simply—check in with a patient. ‘Good morning, this is a reminder of your appointment with your PCP. Please remember to bring all your medications with you.’ A step further is communication through an app—the patient could respond to us and say, ‘I attended my appointment.’ There are many tasks that computers can do on behalf of clinicians.”
“Though technology will undoubtedly improve population health management, successful patient-centered care requires integrating technology with strong communication, community partners, and physician networks. As a value-based care organization, being able to plug into the technological capabilities and resources practiced by a reputable care coordination company is like getting a two-for-one.”
ICS Care+ Technology
ICS has developed proprietary software to support coordinated care and ensure excellent patient experiences. The Care+ automated care planning process updates the care plan as new assessment data, and patient feedback is entered into the system. From there, Clinical Integration Nurses (CINs) provide evidence-based care that reflects the patient’s needs as their condition evolves in real-time. Care+ offers:
- Patient Management Tools—Task and workload management tools that help clinicians improve patient care.
- Provider Tools—A robust dashboard with analytics that providers need to manage care better, improve outcomes, and control costs.
ICS helps organizations transform from fee-for-service to value-based care and delivers ongoing care coordination, consulting, and expertise in data-driven processes necessary to achieve quality care and financial success. If you are an ACO, DCE, hospital, or payer in need of a partner with expertise in value-based care and proven results working with risk-bearing organizations, contact ICS today for a free consultation.